EDM Thursday Briefing: DC Metro Closure, Flooding in Texas and Louisiana, California Drought
Emergency and disaster management briefing for March 17, 2016: A sudden shutdown of the Washington, D.C. Metro causes commuting issues, flooding continues in Texas and Louisiana, and recent storms bring into question whether the California drought is nearing an end.
- The Washington, D.C. Metrorail shut down completely yesterday with little advance notice. Officials cited a system-wide safety inspection as the reason for the closure. The subway shutdown caused massive commuting delays across the region.
- Officials said yesterday that the Metro will reopen this morning at 5 a.m. A damaged cable reportedly caused a fire in one of the Metro tunnels on Monday, which ultimately prompted the abrupt, system-wide shutdown.
- The Sabine River, which lies on the boundary between Texas and Louisiana, crested at a record 33.24 feet, putting much of the region under water. Interstate 10 remained closed at the Texas-Louisiana border and transportation officials said they expected the closure to last for days.
- In Louisiana, four people have died and at least 4,958 homes have been damaged by the severe flooding. The National Guard has evacuated more than 4,200 people since the onset of the flooding. President Barack Obama extended the federal disaster declaration to include 16 more parishes in the state.
- Recent storms in California are leading some to question whether the California drought has come to an end in some parts of the state. The recent storms replenished Northern California’s major reservoirs, and snowpack in the Sierra Nevada mountain range deepened, as well. California just experienced its driest four-year period on record and is considered to be in the fifth year of the ongoing drought.
- Severe weather, including high winds and tornadoes hit multiple parts of the Midwest Tuesday and Wednesday. Illinois, Missouri, Iowa, Tennessee, Kentucky and Indiana all felt impacts of the storms. In Illinois, an EF2 tornado with sustained winds of 125 mph touched down and reportedly traveled about 7 miles.
- Scientists recently tested a new Dengue vaccine and saw promising results -- 100 percent success. The test group was small, 21 participants, but this could nonetheless be good news for tropical areas around the globe, as the mosquito-borne virus infects up to 400 million people annually.
- President Obama signed an executive order authorizing tighter sanctions against North Korea yesterday as a response to North Korea's recent "illicit" nuclear and ballistic missile tests. The U.S. will look to impose these tighter sanctions, which include blacklisting officials, agencies and companies, to further urge the country to abandon its nuclear weapons technology.
- China is asking for more cooperation Chinese and U.S. officials in the areas of internet security and counter-terrorism. China's news agency Xinhua reported that China wants to work more with the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) to deepen law enforcement and security cooperation in an effort to "enhance strategic mutual trust and the respect of each others core interests."
- President Obama issued a disaster declaration for 17 New Jersey counties to make federal aid available for massive snowstorms that hit the state in January. New Jersey Governor Chris Christie requested federal assistance after storms dumped up to three feet of snow in parts of the state, adding up to an estimated damage price tag of $82.6 million.
— Martin Di Caro (@MartinDiCaro) March 16, 2016
— The Weather Channel (@weatherchannel) March 15, 2016